Ryan Butterworth’s try treble proves in vain as Sharlston Rovers left to rue missed chances

Sharlston Rovers suffered their first defeat of the season in the Yorkshire Men’s League when they went down 36-24 after travelling to play Huddersfield-based title rivals Almondbury Spartans.

By Tony Harber
Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 8:00 am

Rovers were slightly understrength again, but were in confident mood as they took the field playing uphill in the opening half.

The home side took the lead with a six-point score in the 10th minute after a simple drop off play caught Rovers napping.

They doubled the lead five minutes later as their big forwards used the hill to their advantage after a series of penalties conceded by Sharlston gave the Spartans good field position.

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Sharlston Rovers went down to their first defeat of the season in the Yorkshire Men’s League

Rovers clawed their way back into the game with some good running from Eddie Medforth, Gary Smith and Jakob Lupton. A good spell saw them stopped just short with Sean Markey and Josh Sneesby unlucky not to score.

The visitors did reduce the deficit on 27 minutes after good pressure led to Ben Lyons going close and on the following play a well timed ball from Pat Harrison saw Josh Beecher crash over for a self-converted score.

This should have been the signal for Sharlston to take control, but they pressed the self-destruct button and a number of errors led to the home full- back rounding several would be defenders to score a good solo try, converted on 31 minutes.

The home side went close again when the kick through was deemed to have gone dead and from the resulting 20-metre tap Ryan Butterworth beat the first line of defence to race 80 yards to score a trademark try, which went unconverted.

The second period started well for Rovers, but they failed to capitalise on good field position and all too often the final ball was rushed or poorly executed, with the result the home side were let of the hook.

On 50 minutes a break from deep inside their own half uphill saw the Spartans increase the lead with a long range converted try.

Again Rovers created chances and Kyle Littlewood was unlucky not to score as he crashed over the line but was adjudged to have lost the ball in the act of scoring as was Liam Kendall when he burst through a crowded defence.

The home side had rarely been out of their half in the previous 10 minutes, but suddenly broke away and increased the lead with another converted effort to put Rovers in a seemingly hopeless position.

Credit the attitude from the visitors as they clawed their way back with some good runs by Yemi George, Martyn Nicol and Paul Greaves paving the way for Butterworth to grab his second try after some good play by Beecher who also tagged on the extras.

Three minutes later Butterworth collected his hat-trick score and the comeback was then definitely in full swing when Kendall crashed over on 74 minutes, but again the conversion was missed, leaving Rovers six points behind with six minutes left.

Rovers threw everything at it in the closing stages and thought they were in with a shout as Medforth went close to the line, but he was harshly done to as the stolen ball was called as a loose carry. The injustice was further enhanced when the home side broke away to put the final nail in Rovers’ coffin with a converted score in the final seconds to give them a 12 point victory.

Rovers will be left to reflect on a poor opening quarter and several wasted opportunities as they lost a game they should really have won. In a mixed performance there were good efforts from Pat Harrison, Jakob Lupton and Eddie Medforth with Ryan Butterworth taking the Sharlston Fisheries sponsored MOM award.

Rovers are not scheduled to have a game now until June 11 when they will be at home to King Cross Park.